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RE: Return Economics-Reply
Sam Goodhope wrote:
> Hmmm...what do you mean lazy?
> Special Assistant Attorney General Sam Goodhope
John Robert BEHRMAN replys ...
Apologies to all list-readers for the use of html in my earlier posting.
I prefer reading long messages in html, short ones in the old-time
"telex" style of my opening line. I violated "netiquette", I now realize
and scourge myself. But, I was trying to apply the Golden Rule. Of
course, that rule may be obsolete, too, now it is revealed that the PC,
the Net, and so on, have changed everything.
To the instant question put by one of the Texas AG's cup-bearers, I mean
"without intellectual, political, or professional discipline" apart
from "whatever it takes" to gain and hold government offices and
jobs pretty much for their own sake.
This is the characteristic behavior of what my fellow Texan Michael LIND
calls the Anglo-American overclass, a ruling elite with Too Many
Lawyers, even by Texas standards, and not very good ones, especially by
To give the Texas AG a rest, the charge is best applied to the FTC. It
took up Novell's and other's complaints and then dropped them instead of
responding soon and rather simply to matters first and best brought to
attention by Andrew Shulman, the matter of "hidden hooks" and
"undocumented calls". These are a public health and safety issue, more
than just a deceptive trade practice of merely economic significance,
more than just a matter of one-upmanship between software firms.
Whether Microsoft should be broken up and how is a matter I would leave
to Microsoft stockholders large and small. But, how standards come to be
established and, more importantly, maintained across all branches of
engineering should be a matter of national policy and professional
practice. In fact, computer operating systems should be brought to
market and maintained like jet engines, or prescription drugs, not like
Jet engines cost more for each one than copies of DOS/Windows or
VAX/Windows. But, that is like saying jet engines cost more than airline
tickets. The relationship of Microsoft to the OEMs and the ISPs is like
that of Pratt and Whitney to the airframe manufacturers and the
airlines. Most of the rest of us are just pilots or passengers.
This is a situation in which a very expensive good - mostly
labor-intensive overhead - is distributed in domestic and international
commerce under pretty extraordinary financial and even political
circumstances. However, somehow, very high engineering standards are
maintained. Sometimes those standards result in very high performance or
durability. But, they never consist of "undocumented calls" or "hidden
hooks". Just imagine if airplanes were as failure-prone or unreliable as
What I am saying here is that, if FTC rules about "APIs" are burdensome,
DoJ action over oppressive marketing is even more debilitating. And,
Katy-bar-the-door if this gets to the plane-crash level of
tort-lawyering. What the FTC could and should have done will seem like a
blessing for us all and the salvation of Microsoft, if all this all now
degenerates into carrion-eating tort-lawyery.